DiTrapano faces up to 30 years in prison

By Chris Dickerson | Aug 27, 2009

DiTrapano CHARLESTON – Embattled former attorney Dante DiTrapano has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a financial institution.


CHARLESTON – Embattled former attorney Dante DiTrapano has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a financial institution.

DiTrapano, 46, filed his written guilty plea Thursday in federal court in Charleston. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Jan. 14.

The former Charleston attorney was named in a federal information in July. It said DiTrapano provided false information to United Bank when he was loaned $500,000 in July 2005.

DiTrapano apparently signed his own name and forged another name to the promissory note. The information said DiTrapano told bank officials that the other person had signed it.

This isn't the first time DiTrapano has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

In March 2006, DiTrapano and his wife Teri were arrested at the St. Petersburg Hilton and charged with possession of crack cocaine. Both of them were released on bond from Pinellas County Jail. The couple, as well as three individuals from the area, also was arrested for possession and a variety of other charges.

Officials said there were 73 pieces of crack cocaine and 21 grams of powder cocaine in the room when the arrests occurred. Dante DiTrapano told officers he and the others were having one last party before he entered a drug rehab facility there.

In April 2006, federal, state and local agents confiscated guns, ammunition, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and other personal items during a six-hour search of the DiTrapano home.

That June, DiTrapano was cited with four driving-related charges after a state trooper pulled him over near St. Albans because of an expired state inspection sticker and an expired registration.

DiTrapano also couldn't produce proof of insurance or a current operator's license because it already had been suspended. And DiTrapano already had been convicted of driving suspended on Nov. 21, 2005.

In July 2006, DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a federal drug and weapons charge and was ordered into a drug treatment facility until his sentencing. DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a charge that he was a drug addict in possession of firearms, which is a violation of federal law.

After pleading guilty before going to rehab, DiTrapano paid a $10,000 bond and signed court documents agreeing to, among other things, not possess firearms or weapons, not to travel outside the Southern District of West Virginia. He also agreed to submit to random urine tests.

In September 2006, DiTrapano's bond was revoked after an Aug. 29 urine specimen tested positive for cocaine. Just before that, DiTrapano had been put back in jail after violating terms of his home confinement.

That was after federal probation officers filed a petition showing DiTrapano violated the home-confinement conditions of his bond at least 12 times in the 12 days since he was released from a Huntington drug rehabilitation center.

In January 2007, DiTrapano was arrested again on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison. DiTrapano, who was finishing a sentence on a federal firearms conviction, was arrested on Georgia fugitive charges.

In June 2007, Magistrate Mary Stanley revealed that DiTrapano had been arrested in Georgia in April on charges of felony cocaine and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

In April 2007, DiTrapano was sentenced to 24 months in prison, which is the maximum allowed under federal guidelines for violating terms of his supervised release. U.S. District Judge David Faber sentenced DiTrapano after he waived his right to the revocation hearing after he was cited with simple possession of methamphetamine by Charleston police.

Guidelines recommended DiTrapano receive a three- to nine-month sentence, but Faber opted to sentence him to the maximum.

Just days before that hearing, DiTrapano had surrendered to U.S. Marshals after he had been wanted on charges that he violated terms of his release following a conviction last year on federal firearms charges.

In the April 1 police report, Patrolman Justin A. Hackney said he found what he suspected was a crack pipe in DiTrapano's rear pocket along with some white powder residue and less than a gram of meth.

After he was released, he was sent back to prison for violating the terms of his supervised release. A federal prisons Web site says he was released early on Dec. 24, 2008, for good behavior.

DiTrapano lost his law license in May 2007.

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